Migrant boy, 8, dies after being detained in government custody

Migrant boy, 8, dies after being detained in government custody

Migrant boy, 8, dies after being detained in government custody

"He told us that (Felipe) was fine all day, that he was playing with other children".

Felipe Gomez Alonzo's death comes just weeks after a 7-year-old girl died.

The father of the 8-year-old Guatemalan boy who died in US government custody says his son had shown no signs of illness before falling sick Monday, the same day he died.

Catarina Gomez via AP This Dec, 12, 2018, photo provided by Catarina Gomez on December 27, 2018, shows her half-brother Felipe Gomez Alonzo, 8, near her home in Yalambojoch, Guatemala.

About 7 p.m., while they were being held at a highway checkpoint on Route 70, Felipe vomited, officials said.

"Access to justice for her relatives should be granted, including but not limited to having legal representation in the proceedings in a language they understand well", he said Monday.

According to local newspaper Pensa Libre, the father and son were detained on December 18 after crossing the USA border in El Paso, Texas.

Nielsen visited El Paso on Friday and is expected to tour multiple stations and substations operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

All children in Border Patrol custody have been given a "thorough medical screening" and, moving forward, all children will receive "a more thorough hands on assessment" as soon as possible after being apprehended, whether or not the adult with them asks for one, Nielsen said in a statement.

Prior to the child's leaving the hospital, though, staffers detected a fever. According to officials, the eight-year-old boy, who has not been named, was given multiple medical examinations by doctors before being released with prescription medications. But like others in the rural farming village of Yalambojoch, he decided that traveling with a child was the only way out.

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Later that night, the agency said the child appeared to be lethargic and nauseous again. Because an EMT is not on duty, agents take father and son back to the hospital. The child later lost consciousness during transit and shortly after was declared dead.

Guatemalan officials have been notified of the death, CBP said.

Gomez fell ill after being detained near the U.S. border with Mexico with his father.

Guatemala's government "will request a clear investigation and safeguarding due process in this case from the USA authorities", a statement from the ministry of foreign affairs said. "Lack of accountability and a culture of cruelty within CBP have exacerbated policies that lead to migrant deaths". In a statement Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan called the death a "tragic loss".

Felipe's father is now being detained at the Alamogordo Station pending transfer to the ICE (Enforcement and Removal Operations). "It's been more than a decade since we've had a child pass away anywhere in a CBP process, so this is just devastating for us".

"Our system has been pushed to a breaking point by those who seek open borders", Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wrote on Wednesday.

It is the second instance this month of a migrant child dying after being detained by U.S. border agents.

An 8-year-old boy, identified by Guatemalan authorities as Felipe Gómez Alonzo, died at Christmas. That includes more than 68,000 families and 13,981 children who were not with their father, mother or family members. When I said goodbye to him, he was healthy. Both deaths are under investigation.

She said she hoped the matter could be addressed through a hearing in 2019.

Guatemala's Foreign Ministry said the country's government would provide Felipe's father with consular assistance and assume responsibility for repatriating the boy's remains.

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